Even as the temperatures dip, demand for ski vacations is heating up.
Travelers who skipped the slopes last season are leading to pent-up demand, and those who booked but canceled trips amid COVID-19 concerns are cashing in.
In many destinations, this season is looking much like those prepandemic. While last season skiers saw masking – even outdoors – plus lifts running at limited capacity to accommodate social distancing, those practices are by and large over. The vast majority of ski resorts are running lifts at full capacity and masks are no longer required on the slopes.
Indoors is a different story and varies between destinations. Vail Resorts in Colorado, which operates 34 destinations, requires masking indoors and requires all guests 12 and over to be vaccinated to dine indoors. All employees must be vaccinated as well.
“Consistent with many other large-scale indoor activities and venues, we believe the vaccine requirement is important for the protection of our guests and our employees, given the number of people using these facilities and the fact that guests will not be wearing face coverings while eating and drinking. This is currently the only part of our experience that will require proof of vaccination unless required by local public health,” Vail states on its website,
In Deer Valley, Utah, masks are required indoors, but proof of vaccination is not.
Susie English, director of marketing at Deer Valley Resort, told Fox News, “Across the industry, we saw a huge increase in people wanting to be outside [since the pandemic began]. People feel safe outdoors, they can get food grab and go and it’s a relatively COVID-conscious experience.”
Many ski destinations have done away with the advanced reservation system that controlled capacity last winter, making a last-minute ski trip a possibility that largely did not exist last season. It’s important, however, to check on this policy during peak times like President’s Week.
English said the resort still limits skier numbers, but those numbers are consistent with pre-pandemic levels.
4 tips for planning a ski vacation in 2022
Buy early and plan ahead.
While many resorts are no longer limiting lift ticket sales, there are exceptions. For example, Deer Valley limits ticket sales – not as a COVID practice, but as part of the guest experience. It’s especially important to plan ahead if you plan on skiing over a peak period, like President’s Week.
Be upfront about your comfort level.
If you don’t feel comfortable riding a lift with someone you don’t know, simply inform the lift operator, English suggested. If dining indoors doesn’t appeal, seek out the outdoor grab-and-go options prior to choosing a destination.
Book off-peak to save.
Target mid-January as a potential time to save over peak travel periods.
Book lessons well in advance.
Staffing shortages are just as prevalent in the ski industry as anywhere else. If you or your child require ski lessons, reserve those spots prior to booking the rest of your trip or run a risk of being shut out.